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Jazz Legend Marian McPartland Among Honorary Degree Recipients at Hamilton College


Jazz pianist Marian McPartland, whowill perform at the Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute's Concert in the Courtseries on Saturday, April 26, will be among the four people to receive honorarydegrees at Hamilton College's 185th commencement on Sunday, May 25.

The other recipients include critic-writer Albert Murray, Newell CompanyChairman of the Board Daniel C. Ferguson, and former U.S. senator Bill Bradley,who will deliver the commencement address. The ceremony will take place at10:30 a.m. on Steuben Field, or in the event of inclement weather, in theMargaret Bundy Scott Field House.

The baccalaureate address will be delivered on Saturday, May 24, by Rev. JohnCroghan, Newman chaplain at Hamilton and administrator of St. Mary's RomanCatholic Church in Clinton. The ceremony will take place at 3 p.m. on the MainQuadrangle.



Mary McPartland
New York, N.Y.

An unlikely jazz legend, English-born McPartland is one of the few women ininstrumental jazz to have achieved both unconditional respect of her fellowmusicians and a substantial popular reputation. Classically trained atLondon's Guildhall School of Music, she left prior to graduation to join afour-piano vaudeville act, and later performed for British and American troopsduring World War II. She married American jazz trumpeter and bandleader JimmyMcPartland in 1946 and moved to the U.S.

Gradually overcoming the resistance of American jazz musicians to hernationality and gender, she established her own jazz trio, which became avirtual combo-in-residence at New York City's Hickory House in the 1960s.Today, she performs at major jazz festivals and clubs and is known for herelegant style and technique. Among her best known compositions are In theDays of our Love, Twilight World and Ambiance. She hashosted the Peabody Award-winning radio show Marian McPartland's PianoJazz for almost 20 years on National Public Radio.

Albert Murray
New York, N.Y.

According to novelist Walker Percy, Murray's first book, The OmniAmericans, published in 1970, "may be the most important book onwhite-black relations in the United States, indeed on American culture,published in this generation." Though he has not achieved the fame of hisfriend Ralph Ellison, Murray has emerged as one of America's most influentialcultural figures, and has been called one of the foremost thinkers to appear inAmerican letters over the last 25 years.

As a student at the Tuskegee Institute in the 1930s, Murray immersed himselfin the works of Hemingway, Faulkner and Mann, and nurtured what he called his"consuming passion" for the music of jazz pioneers Duke Ellington and CountBasie. Between periods of active military service (he retired as a major in1962), he taught at Tuskegee and earned a master's degree from New YorkUniversity in 1948.

Murray's influence now extends well beyond his reputation as a writer andcritic. He recently helped create "Jazz at Lincoln Center," and serves asintellectual godfather to some of the key young black American artists andcritics now working. Murray has held a series of visiting professorships atseveral schools, including Columbia University and Barnard College.

Daniel Ferguson
Freeport, Ill.

A 1948 Hamilton graduate, Ferguson earned an M.B.A. from Stanford Universityin 1958, and took over his family's business, the Newell Company, in 1965. Atthat time, it was a $14 million drapery hardware supplier. One year afterjoining the company, Ferguson made his first acquisition, developing astrategy based on his intention to build a strong multi-product line, and overthe past 30 years he has overseen Newell's meteoric growth into a $3 billionhousewares giant.

Having acquired such businesses as glassware manufacturer Anchor Hocking,school supplies manufacturer Sanford and hair accessories manufacturer Goody,Newell is now a Fortune 500 company listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Thecompany sells to discount chains, superstores, warehouse clubs, home centersand other retailers. Wal-Mart is Newell's biggest customer. Ferguson's keysto building a business are leadership, performance, strategic focus and profitorientation. He recently retired as the company's chief executive officer, andcurrently serves as chairman of the board.

Bill Bradley
Montclair, N.J.

In 1965, following a spectacular academic and athletic career atPrinceton, Bradley spurned an offer to play for the New York Knicksprofessional basketball team, opting instead to continue his studies as aRhodes scholar at Oxford University in England. Two years later, in 1967,Bradley joined the Knicks and over the next 10 years was a starter for two NBAchampionship teams and one championship runner-up squad.

A year after retiring from professional basketball, Bradley was elected to thefirst of his three terms in the U.S. Senate, representing New Jersey.Bradley's career in public life has been guided by four principles: restoringeconomic and personal security to American families, strengthening civilsociety in ways that go beyond government, protecting the country's nationalheritage, and rethinking America's role in the world.

Contact Information


Media Relations Office

198 College Hill Road 
Clinton, NY 13323
315-859-4680 pr@hamilton.edu
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